Chef Danielle Alvarez reveals her favourite hotspots
Meet the chef behind the scenes at one Sydney's best restaurants and find out where she likes to eat on her days off.
- May 2019
Having trained at Thomas Keller’s The French Laundry then scoring a coveted position at Alice Waters’ famed Chez Panisse, this US native was lured to Sydney by the Merivale Group’s Justin Hemmes to helm the kitchen at the resolutely produce-driven, sustainability-focused Fred’s in Paddington.
Is there one dish that has transformed your life?
Lamb leg “a la ficelle”. It’s more a preparation for lamb than a dish but it’s when we hang a leg of lamb by a string (translation for “a la ficelle”) in front of the fire to cook slowly. I learned how to do it at my previous job at Chez Panisse. I remember it was a big challenge and a scary way to cook at the time. I went on to almost build the kitchen at Fred’s around this preparation. I think it’s also what we are best known for, although it’s not always on the menu. I still haven’t found a better way to cook a leg of lamb.
Can you share a secret hidden gem in your neighbourhood that no one knows about?
The Bonython Café (10b Underwood Street, Paddington). It is the most peaceful oasis for a coffee and almost no one knows about it.
Any other favourite Sydney coffee spots?
Paramount Coffee Project in Surry Hills.
What is your favourite restaurant in Australia?
Sean’s Panaroma in Bondi, Sydney, is everything I want to eat; fresh, seasonal, local and unfussy. Combine that with an amazing view of iconic Bondi Beach and super friendly staff – this is peak Australia for me.
What’s your favourite ingredient to see on a menu?
Depends on the season but I do love to see anything that is “first of the season”.
What would be your desert island meal?
Good bread and cheese… and wine, definitely wine.